‘Tis the season, for love

I’ve spend the last two days reflecting on the meaning of love, perhaps, because of the time of year.  My reflections will give me something to write about in the coming weeks.  For now …

At one time I worked with elderly people where one of them was in cognitive decline.  I would often see them soon after a diagnosis was confirmed.  A difficult time.  Anticipating the road ahead for them and for the surviving partner, I would explore the resilience of the relationship.  I found the themes were invariably the same:  humour, and being there for the other.  Their thinking so alike, they were two peas in a pod.

I learned from the themes in these relationships, yes humour and presence, as simple as it sounds, works.  So this post is for them.

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The tremor

She averts her gaze from the future

to his arms on the table

they are strong and still as a bridge

the junction,

where his smile carries her over

a dawn bird

 

Pain, my muse

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I wake, tracing the ridges on once smooth skin

The cobbled path of scars I take to the eastern sky, is slow

Upright, I stretch and bend, still flexible,

some even say strong and resilient

But me?  I’m not sure anymore.

Boots on, I trudge under gum trees, green from rain, not tears

My footfall is now lighter, alone was a heavy load,

so I swapped with solitude many years ago,

a fair exchange

to hear the uncaged bird sing, the song of freedom with me.

Or so I thought.

Another day, another dollar …

Nightfall, I return to where I started from

Reaching in that empty space

Where you once used to be

And, I wonder

Would I be happier, if you were still with me?

The question remains unanswered.

 

a dawn bird

 

An aunt, by any other name …

I’ve been waiting to share my memory of this aunt.  The time never seemed right.  But tonight seems an opportune time, as she was a teacher by profession and today being Teacher’s Day.

She was my mother’s oldest sister who came after two sons in a sibship of ten.  She was beautiful in youth, chiselled features, a twinkle in her eye, long dark hair draped over one shoulder.  She remained that way as she aged.

My aunt had a profound sense of responsibility for her siblings and cared for them like they were her children.  They, in turn, respected her authority.  She was an indulged daughter who was known by her nickname, Baby, by her parents, and later siblings that followed.  As the nieces and nephews came along, she asked us to call her ‘Baby Darling’.  Her reasoning was simple.  She never married and did not have anyone to call her darling.  We accepted this.

Her name tripped off our tongue with easy, “Baby Darling this …”, “Baby Darling that …”.  The memory of this makes the child in me smile.  She had a closet in her bedroom that she kept locked.  It was a treasure trove.  It was always overstocked with perfumes and chocolates, and we crowded around her for the treats she shared generously.  Despite all the beautiful bottles of perfume, I recall she had a strong preference for Tiger Balm for pain.  Imagined or real.

Unlike my mother, who was always immaculately groomed, my aunt spent her day in PJs and slippers.  Her reasoning, was simple.  She was home.  It was her castle where she was queen.  She could do what she liked.  If my mother objected and pleaded with her to dress for visitors, she would say, if they were offended, they could come back when she was dressed … which was never … and then follow this statement with a peal of laughter!  We loved her eccentricity.

She was fiercely protective of her siblings and the extended family.  She was the protector of all secrets.  As teenagers we confided in her with absolute trust.  Our secrets were safe in the vault of her heart.  She giggled like a young girl at our stories of teen love, then she would share little snippets of her love life.

There was a sadness in her life.  It made her eyes sparkle.  Oh! the sweet pain of forbidden, unattainable love, far from being a burden, made her glow from the inside. Tennyson’s words, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”, far from loss, was a triumph that glided her path.

As she walked with us step by step from childhood to teen years and beyond, little did she know, the children at her knee had learnt the best lesson about life.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Spring, at last!

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Today is the first day of spring in the Southern Hemisphere.  A time synonymous with memories of love and laughter.

When I was married, on this day, I could count on my husband giving me a bunch of flowers with a funny poem he had written.  This was our tradition, every year.  I’m not sure what I looked forward to more, the flowers or the corny poem.

The father of my children may be absent from my life but the memory of many happier times is inescapable, on the first day of spring.

I am also reminded each year at spring, even the infinitesimally small can push through gravel and clay, to bloom again.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

Memories

At the end, all we have is memories.  We don’t re-create them.  We make new ones.  And, sometimes, from the old.  Like left-over food, the creation can be memorable.  I’m settled in my chair, about to enjoy a feast.

thumb_IMG_1403_1024.jpgThe snowdrops in my garden first appear in August.  The anniversary of my father’s passing.  Far from saddening me, the flower, like memories of him, delights the heart.

Today is the birth anniversary of my father.  He and my mother shared a birthday in the month of June.  Their birthdays made our home into a house of celebration.  It was an open house where people came uninvited, dropping in for a meal and drink.  My parents, the ever gracious hosts, would treat each person with unconditional warmth.

My parents were business people.  They managed their world of finances and friendships, with uncompromising integrity.  I feel blessed to have been raised in their world.

IMG_2035.jpgMy father was my David Attenborough.  He showed me the wonders of the world in words and books.  Through his eyes I see softness in ranges and know Nature’s hand can shape and smooth the most difficult terrain.

thumb_IMG_1406_1024Jostled in the air, I have learnt to focus on the sun ray bursting through a storm.

thumb_IMG_2343_1024.jpgI know no fear travelling in desolate outback.  I’ve come to learn, there is beauty in the barren.  There is peace in void.

thumb_IMG_2730_1024.jpgMy steps are measured and mindful because I know there’s more to experience in the journey between A to Z.

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Did my father teach me to think differently at his knee?  I’m not sure but the training certainly came early, much like our beloved pooch who at 12 months will get a toy and pose, Instagram ready!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Blessings

via Daily Prompt: Bestow

Today is the anniversary of my first date with someone.  It was decades ago but the memory as vivid as yesterday.  It was a hot day (40 degrees Celsius), unlike a cool 24 degrees today.  I was young and foolish.  I jumped on the back of his fast motorbike wearing just shorts, a tee shirt and sandals.  I had just had a pedicure and did not want my feet enclosed.  (Oh! the vanities of youth!)  We rode out of Perth to a small town less than 100 kms away.  We walked hand in hand and then stopped for scones and tea.  I spotted an antiques store and we lingered some more.  Soon the sun was waning, we decided it was time to get back to the city.  The area is teeming with kangaroos and we did not want to come across one at dusk.  Helmets on, we revved up and headed home.

As the sun slipped away lower into the horizon, the tree lined highway was dappled with sunlight.  He was doing the speed limit of 80 km/hour, when he failed to take a bend.  The bike slipped off the hard road into the soft gravel shoulder.  It bounced, twisted and danced in air.  I flew over his head like a stone from a catapult, skidding on bitumen like I was body surfing and then stopped with an almighty thud.  He held on to the bike for a fraction longer, before it bucked and threw him off, continuing for several hundred metres before a tree forced a stop.

He was also injured and could not reach me, but I could hear his urgent pleas, “Get off the road!”  Lying in the middle of a highway frequented by road trains that could not have stopped, his pleas became increasingly frantic.  My body moved in slow motion.  I lifted myself into a seated position and then bent over laughing at the slapstick comedy of it all.  I was obviously in shock.  Then I saw my right arm, or rather, what I could see.  The laughing stopped.

A nurse who lived on a farm nearby heard the crash and saw the smoke.  She raced across the paddock and approached the scene, all sombre, efficient and instructive.  She lay me down on the side of the road.  She fashioned support from the broken fairing and lay my shattered arm on it.  Being Anzac Day, a public holiday, the traffic, fortunately and unfortunately, was light.  Unable to leave me, the nurse waited for someone to come by.  A truckie finally did.  He was unable to call the local hospital.  This was the days before mobile phones.  He finally got someone in Sydney on the CB radio who phoned the hospital.  Being a holiday the staff were all on roster, enjoying a BBQ.  By the time the ambulance staff could be contacted, it was over two hours from the time of the accident.  By then the pain took over.  We headed into Perth with the ambulance wailing.  Still in shock, I complained bitterly about the nail polish being totally wiped off my nails on one foot that had dragged along the bitumen!

I spent months in hospital recovering from my numerous injuries and then another four surgeries and hours of therapy before my arm was functional.

Years later I married my date.  The father of my children.

Because of that day I have love and laughter in my life.  I have family.  I am mother.  I experience motherhood.  The best gift he could bestow.

As the years go by, I know one thing for sure.  I wouldn’t have missed that ride, for quids.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

 

Love, the unexpected

via Daily Prompt: Song

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Those who love photography will know the feeling of an unexpected image.  It generates a visceral response.  A reflex.  The stance is automatic.  Point and capture the moment.  It is rare for me to experience this without a camera.  But I did yesterday.

At the end of the day I felt contented.  I was home with soup simmering for hours in the kitchen.  As it needed a few more hours, I sat down to watch TV.  Flicking through channels of ‘reality TV’ with edited scripted spontaneity not cutting it for me, I was about to turn off and write reports when I stumbled upon it.  A documentary about an American couple.  So why did I sit, spellbound, for over an hour?  Let me share their story as succinctly as I can.

Richard and Mildred Loving fell in love in the 1950s.  They lived in rural Virginia.  He, all American blond boy, who spent weekends drag racing, as other boys of his era did.  She was slender, with long limbs, angular cheek bones reflecting her proud heritage, American Indian and African American.  They married, they claim not knowing inter-racial marriages were a crime in their State.  In an era where the reach of technology was short, being banned from their State effectively starved the young couple with three children, of support from family and friends.  Two young lawyers took up their cause, fired by the civil rights movement of the early 1960s.  They took it to the Supreme Court and won the case, decriminalising inter racial marriage, the waves of that tsunami, hit 16 other States.  I watched the documentary captivated by the story of all the players.  Each had their own agenda, but Richard Loving outlined it best when his lawyers asked him what to tell the Supreme Court.  He said simply, “Tell them I love my wife”.

I know the story of change.  The big players of the time.  Rosa Parks.  Martin Luther King Jr.  The Kennedys.  But, I didn’t know this simple, powerful story of love.

I learned this morning a movie was made about the couple in 2016.  I didn’t know this.  Of course, that’s not too surprising.  I rarely watch anything that comes out of Hollywood, nor will I be rushing to watch this on small screen, even if it was Oscar worthy.

The best images for me were by the photographer who captured beautiful, tender moments of couple and family that were interspersed throughout the documentary.  A man mowing a tatty lawn, doing puzzles with his children.  A lean mother cooking over a stove, her small pots, too small to feed a family of five.  A couple joined in tender kiss.  A burly man leaning his head on his wife’s slender, strong shoulders.  Her doe like gentleness belied the strength she would have needed to cope with this all.  Yes, the photographer caught those unexpected moments, that gave voice to a story.

The love story of Richard and Mildred, has found a place in my heart, like a song.  May it do in yours too.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird